Health Behavior

About half of premature deaths in high-income countries are attributable to behavioral and other preventable causes. Encouraging people to take better care of their health is therefore critical to improving population health and restraining the escalation of medical spending. Eliminating the strong socioeconomic gradient in health behavior is central to reducing health inequalities. Our research involves development and testing of models of  health behaviors, with particular focus on understanding fundamental mechanisms responsible for socioeconomic differences in smoking, heavy drinking, diet, exercise and uptake of preventive care. We also conduct empirical analyses of the demand for illicit drugs and consider appropriate regulation of the use of recreational drugs.

Key publications

  • Williams, J., J.C. van Ours and M. Grossman (2016). Attitudes to legalizing cannabis use. Health Economics25: 1201-1216.
  • Van Ours, J.C. and J. Williams (2012). The effect of cannabis use on physical and mental health. Journal of Health Economics, 31: 564-577.
  • Galama, T.J., and H. van Kippersluis (2015). A Theory of Socioeconomic Disparities in Health over the Life Cycle. CESR-Schaeffer Working Paper 2015-016, University of Southern California.
  • Hsieh, C.S. and H. van Kippersluis (2015). Smoking Initiation: Peers and Personality. Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 15-093.
  • Van Kippersluis, H., and T.J. Galama (2014), “Wealth and Health Behavior: Testing the Concept of a Health Cost”, European Economic Review, 72: 197-220.